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Trusted Sacramento SSD Appeal Lawyers

Have You Been Denied SSD or SSI Benefits? Smolich and Smolich Offers Strategic Solutions.

If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, you are not alone. In fact, the majority of initial applications are denied. It does not mean that you are not eligible. It simply means that, when the Social Security Administration (SSA) representative reviewed your case, he or she either missed something or something was missing.

For more than 40 years our team at Smolich and Smolich has been helping people like you throughout Northern California overcome denials. We can assist you with every step of the appeals process. Contact our Sacramento Social Security Disability attorneys online!

Social Security Disability Appeals Process

The Social Security Administration receives a large number of applications every year, and as such they need to be diligent about which ones they accept and which ones they can deny. This system is far from perfect, and as such a legitimate claim may be denied thanks to a mistake or miscalculation, resulting in a denial of benefits that you may have significant need for. However, just because your claim has been denied doesn’t mean you should give up hope: you may be able to appeal the denial and have your claim accepted. Let’s take a closer look at the appeals process.

In summary, there are two main stages of the appeals process:

  1. Request for reconsideration, which will be reviewed by a different individual at the Social Security office
  2. Request for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, which is often the stage where we succeed in obtaining SSD benefits

While these are the main stages, there are several steps involved in appealing a denied SSD claim, which we break down below.

1. Request an Appeal

You must request an appeal in writing within 60 days of receiving notice that your claim has been denied. Requesting the appeal is done using Form SSA-561 which is available online or from your local Social Security office.

2. Reconsideration

The first step is known as “reconsideration” and simply asks the Social Security Administration to have someone who was not involved in the initial decision review your case along with all previous and new evidence submitted in order to issue a new decision.

3. Hearing

If the reconsideration request also doesn’t go your way, you can take things a step further and request a full hearing before an administrative law judge who had no part in either the original decision or reconsideration. At the hearing, the judge will question you and any witnesses you bring such as medical or vocational experts. You may also have a Sacramento workers’ compensation attorney with you, and it’s strongly advised that you do. After your hearing, the judge will issue a new decision based on all of the information in your case, which includes any new information you provide at the hearing.

4. Appeals Council

If that isn’t successful, you have a further option still by asking your case to be reviewed by the Social Security Appeals Council. The council looks at all requests for review, but may rule that the appeal decision was correct the first time and deny the appeal. If they do decide to review your case, it will then either decide your case itself or return it back to an administrative law judge to be reviewed again.

5. Federal Court

Finally, if the appeals council denies your case, you can escalate it by filing a lawsuit a federal district court. This can take a while to resolve and there is no guarantee that a lawsuit will mean your case will be accepted. It’s strongly advised you consult with a lawyer before taking this option to find out if it’s prudent for you to do so.

Reasons for Denial of Social Security Disability Benefits

Your initial application must clearly indicate your disability and inability to maintain full-time employment for a minimum period of 12 months. A doctor's note saying that you are "disabled" or "cannot return to work" is far from sufficient. The SSA is looking for very specific information about your medical condition and how it impacts your ability to work full-time.

Typically, you must prove that you cannot perform any of the jobs you have done in the last 15 years or any other job in the national economy. If they do not see that within the small amount of time they have to review your case, you will be denied. Our Sacramento SSD attorneys know medical and vocational information is needed for SSA to award your claim. We will determine why you were denied and put together a strategy to obtain benefits through the appeals process.

Assisting with Every Step of the Complex Appeals Process

Because the appeals process is extremely complex and confusing, it is highly advisable to retain the services of an experienced Sacramento social security disability attorney to handle your case. By doing so, you can significantly improve your chances of obtaining much needed benefits and improving your quality of life.

Our firm will be at your side throughout every step of the appeals process, and do everything in our power to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.

Call us at (916) 571-0400 to schedule a free case evaluation!

Recent Reviews

  • I was blessed the day I contacted this firm!

    “I was blessed the day I contacted this firm! Sarah Greer and Sam Eldaly we're an amazing team while handling my Social Security Disability appeal. They were very proactive, kept me up to date on the status of my case and we're always available to ease my mind. I am so thankful for the help I received from my team! They far exceeded all my expectations!”

    Mandie Lou

  • very empathic

    “I would totally still be lost in the red tape of the social security system without the help of my attorney Sarah Greer and my case manager Sarah Cummings. You ladies rock!! Thank you so much for all your help getting my award. I would personally recommend this law firm to anyone needing help with their claim.”

    Martha DelValle

  • Thank you Sarah and team!

    “I needed to apply for disability and knew nothing about how to go about it. Sarah called me and explained the process and assured me everything would be okay. Her staff went online to fill out my application. She and Marlena kept me updated every step of the way. Within a short time a decision was made in my favor. I cannot tell you how many sleepless nights I had prior to meeting with the team. I would recommend them to anyone who needs help in this area. Thank you so much for all your hard work. Without you I could have never done this.”


  • Without Smolich & Smolich taking my case I would have never gotten my benefits!!!

    “Without Smolich & Smolich taking my case I would have never gotten my benefits!!! Rob Smolich took my case himself and was so helpful in every step of the way. I cant say anything negative about Smolich & Smolich. I had a lawyer before him and he was way more personable. His office took all the stress off my back and made me feel at ease during the time period of waiting. Have nothing but good things to say about this company. They are completely professional!!!!”

    Dustin Walker

  • “You don’t have to worry with Smolich by your side”

    “I want to thank Smolich and Smolich for helping me get my Social Security Disability. The continued support I received from them from beginning to the end help me to stay calm thru the whole process. I couldn’t have done it without them. Marlena Jones, thank you for being so kind when I call the office with questions. I appreciate you. YOU GUYS ARE SO AWESOME !!!!!”